Review of Newair AI-215R Portable Ice Maker11:34 AM
My fridge does not have an ice maker installed, and there is very little room to waste with ice cube trays. This means that, for much of the year, we go without ice. This is inconvenient, and (when guests come over) a bit embarassing. We were excited to get the chance to review the Newair AI-215R Portable Ice Maker (in beautiful red) this year. It fits on our kitchen counter, right next to our fridge, and has made making ice a simple process!
First, this thing is heavy. It contains all the components you would need to cool water and create ice. It comes in two finishes: stainless steel and red (as pictured.) Cleanup is easy, as all the surfaces are smooth. You can set your ice to different sizes, but they all have the little holes in the middle (which are my favorite ice cubes!) By making sure the reservoir is filled, turning it on, selecting your size, and waiting about 12 minutes, you'll have one or two servings of ice ready to go! The ice will keep making until you stop it, or you run out of water.
I love this thing for when company is coming over. When we see guests pull into our driveway, I turn the machine on. By the time we are ready to offer them drinks -- the ice is made!
As I mentioned, we have to store a lot of food in our freezer, so saving room for ice makes no sense. As long as the machine is plugged in and turned on, it keeps the ice cool as long as you need it. When you're done, just turn it off, and the ice will melt and go back into the reservoir for the next days' ice cubes.
There are a few little symbols on the display that it helps to familiarize yourself with. They tell you if there is a problem with the machine (needs more water, for example), if it needs cleaning, or there are other issues. I did find that, when I opened my box for the first time, the little control panel cover was off. It must have stuck to the packaging. I was able to put it back on over the buttons with no issues, but it does have to be pressed back on from time to time.
Since you can make 50 pounds of ice with this thing, it's also great for taking along in an RV or camper. It's easy to drain the water, as well. Like a portable cooler, it has a spout on the side that you can open to let the water out. (A must for transporting, as this thing is heavy!) The unit is also whisper-quiet when running; the only time you really hear it is when the fresh cubes are dumped into the holding tray.
If you think a built-in ice maker is impractical (either because you don't have water lines running to your fridge, or the storage space isn't there), this is a reasonable solution that will keep you serving cold drinks year round. We also use quite a bit of ice for putting into our cooler when making the long trip to the warehouse store to buy frozen foods and for making up ice packs for injuries at home.
The particular model, which sells for under $275 at retailers like Amazon.com, is as good-looking as it is functional. It is also a reasonably-priced alternative to retro-fitting your freezer with an ice machine.
*Product sample received to review. Opinions are 100% my own.